Archive for the 'Scholarships' Category

Understanding Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Loans

Posted on Mar. 27th 2015 by Amelia

Are you worried about how you’ll pay for college or looking for ways to lower your family’s out-of-pocket costs? While it’s true that a college education comes with a high price tag, securing financial aid can help you confidently pursue your educational goals. There are many different funding opportunities that can help you finance your college education, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, and loans. You’ll find that these opportunities each have their own requirements. Learn more about different financial aid options for your undergraduate studies, and determine what’s right for your needs.

Scholarships

Scholarships are one of the best ways to pay for college. You don’t have to repay scholarship funds, so there’s no financial burden after you graduate. Scholarships are awarded by government entities, schools, and private organizations. Scholarships are usually awarded based on merit, financial need, or other qualifying requirement. Devote your time to researching as many scholarships as possible to maximize your opportunities. You’ll find that scholarships are awarded for a wide variety of reasons, and you may be eligible for more scholarships than you originally thought possible. Each scholarship will have its own application requirements and deadlines, so it’s important that you start researching scholarships as soon as possible. When applying for scholarships, stay alert for scams that take advantage of hopeful students and steer clear of resources that require payment or just seem too good to be true.

Grants

Grants are very similar to scholarships. Grants usually don’t require any kind of repayment, and students typically qualify for grant awards based on financial need, merit, or some other eligibility criteria. When you submit your FAFSA, you’ll automatically find out if you qualify for a need-based federal Pell Grant. Depending on your circumstances, you may also qualify for other limited federal grants like the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, the TEACH Grant, or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. There are also significant grants at the state level, so be sure find out what college grants are available in your state. These grants often have additional residence or merit eligibility criteria. Be sure to also research grants offered by private organizations and companies, nonprofits, and your prospective schools, as there are a large number of private grants available for college students.

Fellowships

Fellowships are a specific type of grant that allows you to receive funding while pursuing specific academic interests. While many fellowships are geared toward post-graduate study, there are also a significant number of undergraduate fellowships. Fellowships can range from short-term programs to multi-year commitments. Some fellowship awards are limited to specific areas of study, while others are open to all outstanding students. You’ll find both independent programs and school-specific fellowships. Not only do fellowships provide funding, but they are also usually quite prestigious. Winning a spot in a fellowship program is very competitive, as they are designed to give students the chance to focus on academic research and access development opportunities that will help students make contacts and significantly advance in their course of study. As with all scholarships and grants, it’s important that you plan ahead. Fellowship applications can be quite extensive and may even require additional steps like a nomination, interviews, and presentations.

Loans

Student loans allow you to borrow funds to cover the costs of higher education. Unlike other financing options, you must repay funds received through student loans. While repayment is a significant drawback, student loans also are a vital financial aid tool for many students. It can be quite challenging to fund all of your college expenses with only scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Remember that your college costs include not only tuition but also textbooks, fees, and necessary living expenses. These total costs often results in a gap between your award funds and actual college expenses, requiring most students to use family resources or take out student loans. Students who need loans should first look to federal loans. Federal loans are need-based and have a much lower interest rate than private loans. Your federal loan eligibility is typically based on your FAFSA. Your course of study and choice of profession may affect your federal loan repayment requirements, as there are certain income- and profession-based repayment and forgiveness plans currently available. If you need funds beyond your federal loan eligibility, private loans can provide additional financing. Private loans, however, usually have a higher interest rate and less-forgiving repayment options, and they may require a co-signer. If you decided to take out federal or private student loans, carefully consider how student loan debt will affect your future finances, as repayment generally begins upon graduation and remaining debt can’t be discharged even during bankruptcy proceedings.

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Ultimate Guide to College Grants and Scholarships for Minorities

Posted on Jan. 14th 2014 by Amelia

Scholarships and grants are a valuable tool for students who need funds to pay for college. These programs typically have criteria that consider your background and interests. One major category of gift awards is minority scholarships and grants. Minorities are groups that have historically faced societal disadvantages or challenges due to factors including: ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. Students whose backgrounds qualify them for these awards can access financial assistance that they don’t need to pay back. Like all scholarships, minority scholarships will usually have additional merit or need based criteria for selection. Minority scholarships are offered by colleges, private organizations and companies, and government agencies.

Hispanic and Latino

There are a large number of college scholarships available for Hispanic students. Many of these awards are aimed at helping provide equal opportunities for higher education as research has shown that financial barriers are the primary reason many Hispanic and Latino students don’t pursue post-secondary education. Scholarships aimed at Hispanic and Latino students typically have additional criteria including academic merit , civic activism and volunteerism , or demonstrating financial need. Some scholarships are only open to immigrant families while others are open to all students of Hispanic and Latino descent. While many programs require that students have U.S. citizenship, there are even scholarships for students regardless of documentation status .

African American

African American students can access a wide range of scholarships aimed at increasing diversity and helping African American students break down barriers in underrepresented fields. Some scholarships for African American students celebrate general academic achievement while others fund further education in STEM fields or other fields where African American students are underrepresented. Many of these programs are run by non-profit organizations committed to African American community development and advocacy. Groups like the UNCF and NAACP have a long history of helping African American students find funding to pursue higher education. There are many other private scholarships and university-funded scholarships available at both the local and national level, so be sure search databases and contact prospective colleges to learn more.

Native American

In addition to private and institutional scholarships, Native American students pursuing post-secondary education will have access to a large range of federal and local government scholarship funds available specifically for Native American students. Students will qualify for scholarships based on their course of study, tribal affiliation , community activism, and more. Native American Tribal Colleges and Universities also offer scholarships for students who choose to attend tribal schools. Native American students should carefully research not only Native American scholarships , but also general minority scholarships for specific fields of study or general academic achievement.

Women

Women are considered a minority group in that there is a gender gap in many fields of work and study. While some scholarships generally serve the advancement of women in higher education, most scholarships for women are geared toward creating advancement opportunities within STEM areas and other professional fields where women are under-represented. Scholarships for women are typically funded through private organizations or universities. Some women’s scholarships are specifically for minority women as these programs recognize the unique educational barriers faced by minority women. There are also scholarships targeting women who many not have had equal educational opportunities in the past, and are pursuing their college education later in life .

Persons with Disabilities

In addition to general minority scholarships, students with disabilities will also qualify for scholarships specifically for disabled students . There are scholarships for students with learning disabilities as well as physical and developmental disabilities. Some scholarships will also apply to students with disabled parents. State and federal government agencies can provide additional information on funding resources and general college assistance. Keep in mind that many schools also offer scholarships and grants for students with disabilities that can help them meet the cost of additional needs such as assistive equipment or aides, so be sure to contact your prospective schools for additional information.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

Many schools and private organizations also recognize the challenges faced by students in the LBGT community. These scholarships serve both LBGT students and children of LGBT parents. Groups like PFLAG offer scholarships to LBGT students and LBGT community allies. These scholarships typically require a demonstration of commitment to service in the LBGT community. Other private foundations offer scholarships aimed at helping promising LBGT students with need-based assistance. Some programs help fill the gaps left by financial aid packages and parental contributions, while others offer merit-based awards. Many LBGT scholarships are offered at a local or regional level by private groups, so carefully research local opportunities. College and university LBGT resource centers can provide you with additional information on general and university-specific LBGT scholarship opportunities.

Carefully assess your background before dismissing the possibility of qualifying for minority scholarships. It can be helpful to discuss possibilities with your parents and college counselor. While some minority groups have well-known scholarship award programs, others may require additional research and outreach. Whether you’re a member of a highly visible minority group or have faced specific and unique challenges, you may qualify for a number of scholarships and grants targeted at underserved or underrepresented communities. There are even scholarships that are open to minority students from any underrepresented group. These scholarships are typically for specific courses of study or based on academic merit . Every scholarship counts so don’t be afraid to ask questions about qualifying for minority scholarships and grants.

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A Student’s Guide to Finding the Best College Scholarships

Posted on Oct. 29th 2013 by Amelia

Raising money for college can seem daunting with tuition, textbook fees, and living expenses to consider. Receiving scholarships and grants can make a big difference toward defraying the high cost of college. College financial aid packages typically don’t cover all costs and often include student loans. Applying for scholarships and grants takes time and patience, but has significant long-term benefits. These awards will help you pay for college without the financial burden created by student loans because unlike student loans, scholarships and grants don’t require repayment. Any funds you receive from these programs are considered gift aid. There are a wide range of scholarships and grants, including need-based awards, merit-based awards, and more. Here are a few simple ways to optimize your scholarship and grant search as you prepare for college:

Start Your Search Early

Starting your scholarship search as early as possible is a key factor in securing awards. There are thousands of scholarships and grants available to help students pay for college, but it’s up to you to find them. It is unlikely that a single grant or scholarship will fund all of your college expenses, but smaller awards can add up so it’s important to apply for as many awards as possible. Not only does researching awards take time, each scholarship has its own application requirements and deadline. Applications may require essays, financial documents, or letters of recommendation. In order to ensure that you have enough time to complete your application by the deadline, start your search early. Putting off your search may result in missing out on awards for your first year.

Ask Your College Counselor

Talking to your school’s college counselor should be your first step in the scholarship search. They can help you asses your situation to determine what types of awards you should target. While most scholarships are merit-based, grants tend to be need-based. Scholarships will typically be awarded by schools or private organizations and have achievement criteria like stellar grades, proven athletic abilities, or other specific skills. They also may require you maintain a certain college GPA or course load. Grants, however, are usually determined by your family’s financial circumstances. Your eligibility will depend on details unique to you and your college plans. You may qualify for grants and scholarships depending on your state of residence, school of choice, or even college major and career plans. Your college counselor can help you evaluate your background for factors that will qualify you for certain merit or need-based scholarships. You may be eligible for scholarships based on criteria including: hobbies, volunteerism, organization membership, disabilities, ethnicity, and parents’ employer or military service. Your college counselor will be familiar with national and local scholarship programs, and can direct you toward legitimate resources to research additional programs. Once you have a game plan, your college counselor can also help you set a reasonable timeline for completing your FAFSA, writing personal statements, and requesting letters of recommendation or materials required by many scholarship applications.

Search Online for Grants from State and Federal Agencies

In addition to private scholarships and grants, state and federal government agencies also offer college grants. Some government grants are automatically determined by your completed FAFSA results. For example, the Federal government offers Pell Grants to all undergraduate students from qualifying low-income families. This is the largest need-based grant resource available. The Federal government also offers a few specialized grants to students who meet very specific eligibility criteria. The FAFSA is used to determined eligibility for these grants as well. State governments also offer grants, but the amount and qualifying criteria vary by state. Many states offer grants to students who attend in-state colleges and meet certain financial need or merit-based criteria.

Research local businesses, organizations, and religious groups

Don’t forget to consider local resources when searching for outside scholarships. Many local businesses, civic groups, social organizations, and religious groups offer college scholarships. While these scholarships usually aren’t listed in scholarship search guides, they are an invaluable resource for students. Unlike national or even state scholarships, there is much less competition for local awards and you may have an existing affiliation or connection to the awarding community group. Your college counselor or guidance counselor may have some information on established local scholarships. The public library is another excellent resource for researching local scholarships. They may have a local scholarship resource guide, or even simply directories of local businesses and groups you can contact. Don’t be afraid to ask around as you never know which of you or your family’s community ties may lead to a scholarship.

Here are a few resources to help you learn more about effectively finding scholarships and grants for college:

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Scholarships for Hispanic Students

Posted on Jan. 15th 2013 by Amelia

Introduction Hispanic Student.

There are many scholarships available for students of an Hispanic background. Whether you are male or female or whatever your family background is, you qualify for many scholarships if you are Hispanic. There are prizes of all sizes out there, although many Hispanic scholarships are among the largest in the country.

What kind of scholarships go to Hispanic students? There are several different kinds, just as there are many kinds of scholarships in general. You will probably not be able to fund your entire education using only Hispanic scholarships, but you should be aware of the types and the process involved in applying for them. Each scholarship you apply to is a great opportunity to help fund your education and many are renewable for several years!

Most Hispanic scholarships are merit-based and competitive. This means that you must have either a history of academic success or a slate of off-campus accomplishments to qualify. However, other scholarships come in the form of essay contests. For these contests, you generally do not need any other qualification aside from plans to attend college and evidence of your Hispanic background. Subjects for the required essays generally revolve around your future plans, making the world a better place, or explaining what your heritage means to you. Naturally, you should try to cultivate a deep understanding of your roots to better communicate your ideas.

Finding Scholarships for Hispanic Students

There are thousands of different avenues for seeking out scholarships for Hispanic students. Many of these scholarships will easily be found within your own community. If you are in an area with a flourishing Hispanic population, reach out to local community groups that cater to the needs of Hispanic individuals. They may have scholarship funds or grants that you can qualify for, but it is not a guarantee that these scholarships are widely publicized. You may have to send letters, make phone calls, or visit organizations in person to find out about opportunities.

Scholarships are also available directly from universities. These scholarships frequently come in the form of a departmental scholarship sponsored by the faculty and students who study topics in Hispanic history or culture. If the university is well known for having many Hispanic alumni, then one of them may have made a donation that established a fund for Hispanic students. In either case, you will probably only qualify for these scholarships if you are planning to attend that specific institution, and sometimes it is expected that you will major in particular subjects.

Even if you do not live in a region with a large Hispanic population, there are also national organizations that you can apply to. These organizations are dedicated to fostering and recognizing the unique contributions that Hispanics have to offer; like the arts, sciences, and humanities. Scholarships provided by national organizations have a tendency to be much larger than those offered by local foundations. On the other hand, national organizations also attract more applicants than local ones, so you may need to put forth more time and effort into a successful application. This may also entail furnishing proof of your Hispanic heritage.

How to Qualify for a Competitive Scholarship for Hispanic Students

Although some scholarships will only require you to submit information about your skills, interests, and academic performance, most are more competitive. You should be prepared to answer a variety of personal questions that pertain to your fitness to receive a scholarly grant. Most of these scholarships require a “personal statement” that describes you, your aspirations, and what you plan to do in the future. You should practice writing similar statements at different lengths, because while a few scholarships might allow you to go to 1,000 words, many will demand a succinct statement of 500, 300, or even as little as 100 words. This allows the decision-makers behind the scholarship to accept and sort more applications.

Many organizations are interested in a personal “hook” or story that demonstrates your motivation for going to college. Think about your special skills, your relationship with your community, what kind of adversity or challenges you have overcome, and what you see yourself doing when you have reached your goal of a complete and debt-free college education. An interesting or inspiring story with some unusual element can be very compelling.

Want to learn more about scholarships for Hispanic students? Visit the links below.

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Vote for the Winner of the 2012 Blogging Scholarship

Posted on Nov. 14th 2012 by Amelia

Update: the below poll is closed & here are the finals

You may vote once per day. Voting closes at noon pacific on November 28rd.

Want to know who writes which blog? Please check out all the blogs here.

Due to heavy server load, comments are closed on this post. You may comment on the post announcing the finalists here.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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2012 Blogging Scholarship Finalists

Posted on Nov. 14th 2012 by Amelia

Here are the finalists in alphabetical order by first name, along with links to their blogs:

You may vote for The 2012 Blogging Scholarship here & comment below. Comments are moderated & approved periodically throughout the day.

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2011 Blogging Scholarship

Posted on Nov. 18th 2011 by Amelia

Who Should Win the Blogging Scholarship in 2011?

  • John McAuliff (24%)
  • Heather Cohen (22%)
  • David Shiffman (20%)
  • Brian McElhinny (10%)
  • Ben Swanson (8%)
  • Mark Lamprecht (4%)
  • Jacquelyn Gill (3%)
  • Camille Beredjick (3%)
  • Philip Tanedo (1%)
  • Kendra Lay (1%)
  • Ray Sanders (1%)
  • Chelsea Long (1%)
  • Delana Lefevers (1%)
  • Miraj Patel (0%)
  • Shannyn Allan (0%)
  • Kevin Flora (0%)
  • Emily Steen (0%)
  • Ariel Norling (0%)
  • Taylor Marvin (0%)
  • Carlos Hernandez (0%)

Total Votes: 49,591

Loading ... Loading ...

You may vote once per day. Voting closes at noon pacific on November 30th.

Want to know who writes which blog? Please check out all the blogs here.

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Vote for the Winner of the 2011 Blogging Scholarship

Posted on Nov. 15th 2011 by Amelia

Hi Everyone

The new voting page is here. Please ignore the below voting script on this page.

Our site had 2 polling scripts installed & it looks like this year the one that was enabled was the one that didn’t have all the anti-cheating features working. In years past some people would complain about cheating (whoever was behind) and then someone else would get in the lead (often a person who said someone else was cheating!) and then they would be labeled a cheater, however we were not able to detect any significant amount of ballot stuffing. This year with the wrong polling software it was far too easy to manipulate the results & some folks did.

We have spent the past couple days testing out & verifying an alternative solution, which uses AJAX, does result order randomization, tracks IP addresses, and sets cookies. We are satisfied that it adequately protects the competition from cheating & are starting the vote from scratch using it.

Here is a picture of the old results before we erased that poll

What makes us certain some folks were vote stuffing? Well numerous finalists had over 60,000 votes & the whole site has had less than 60,000 unique visitors since voting began.

[updated: confirming how absurd the above was, here is a example of what happened to web traffic after we changed out the poll

notice that while the number of unique visitors didn’t change much from day to day, over 100,000 fake pageviews disappeared overnight]

To make up for this problem we are doing the following:

  • starting the vote from scratch today. everyone gets a clean slate.
  • extending voting 1 week. it now ends at November 30th at noon pacific.
  • since some people might try to circumvent any limits that are put in place, we decided that allowing people to vote once per 24 hour period further helps level the playing field.
  • closely monitoring voting for any suspicious voting patterns adjusting downward any votes that our programmer & system admin believes are driven by cheating. we will periodically rotate the field options in addition to the random order display to further nullify any cheating attempts.

We realize that the vote stuffing may not have even been done by any of our finalists, but by some friends who wanted them to win. Thus we are not really blaming anyone for this issue other than ourselves for using the wrong voting script. The new one has been rigorously tested. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Who Should Win the 2011 Blogging Scholarship?
View Results

Want to know who writes which blog? Please check out all the blogs here.

Voting ends at noon pacific time on November 23rd. Voting has been extended 1 week.

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2011 Blogging Scholarship Finalists

Posted on Nov. 15th 2011 by Amelia

Here are the 2011 Blogging Scholarship finalists. You can vote here

Delana Lefevers Gajitz

David Shiffman Southern Fried Science

Brian McElhinny Raise The Jolly Roger

Ben Swanson Rufus on Fire

Philip Tanedo Quantum Diaries

Carlos Hernandez Carlos Eats

Camille Beredjick Gay Writes

Miraj Patel Miraj Patel.com

Shannyn Allan Frugal Beautiful

Ray Sanders Dear Astronomer.com

Taylor Marvin PROSPECT

Mark Lamprecht Here I Blog

Emily Steen Emylibef

Ariel Norling An Educationin Education

Heather Cohen Escaping Anergy

Jacquelyn Gill Contemplative Mammoth

Kendra Lay Kendra Lay.com

John McAuliff Road Trip of Passage

Kevin Flora EdMatics

Chelsea Long Pilgrimage.

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Missouri Gaming Association now accepting scholarship applications

Posted on Feb. 13th 2011 by Alexis

Missouri Gaming Association scholarshipThe Missouri Gaming Association is awarding two $1,500 scholarships and four $1,000 scholarships through their annual Project 21 Scholarship competition. In order to win a scholarship, Missouri high school seniors are being asked to write an article or create a poster or video which addresses the issue of underage gambling.

Scholarship info and requirements

Each article, poster or video will be judged on originality, style, content and educational value. The focus of each submission should touch on how to “deter” young people who are under the age of 21 from gambling, and/or discuss the “ramifications” associated with underage gambling. Students are also being asked not to confuse the topic with anti-gambling or compulsive gambling topics because they are not the same.

Here are the qualifications for the entries:

  1. Articles: If the student is submitting an article, it must be published in a newspaper, magazine, or publication of the applicant’s school between January 1, 2011 and February 28, 2011.
  2. Posters: Every poster that is submitted must be displayed in a public area of the applicant’s school for at least seven days (between January 1, 2011 and February 28, 2011). Applicants must also submit a one-page essay which touches on the topic of underage gambling, however, the essay does not have to be displayed or published at the applicant’s school. Applicants must also provide a letter signed by their school counselor which confirms that the poster was displayed at the school.
  3. Videos: All video entries must be between 1 to 5 minutes in length and be viewed in a school classroom or forum between January 1, 2011 and February 28, 2011. Applicants must also submit a letter signed by their school counselor to confirm that the video was viewed at the school.

High school seniors working as part-time casino employees are eligible to apply if he or she works less than 32 hours per week, and children of Missouri casino employees are also eligible as long as they are not a child of a Missouri Gaming Association officer or a Missouri Project 21 Executive Committee member. If the applicant is under the age of 18 then his or her parent/guardian must sign the application form.

Click here for the scholarship application form and to read up on the various other rules and requirements for the competition.

The application deadline is March 4, 2011.

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